Actor Benjamin Walker takes on antihero Patrick Bateman in the new musical American Psycho, the stage version of Bret Easton Ellis’ divisive postmodern 1991 novel, with music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik.
When were you first introduced to American Psycho?
When I was a freshman in college I started to read the book—all the cool kids were reading it—and it was so overstimulating that I had to put it down. Then when we did the first workshop a few years ago, I finished the book. It holds up, and the violence is part of the vocabulary of Patrick’s mind.
How is your Patrick Bateman different from Christian Bale’s character in the 2000 film?
This Patrick is funny and a bit more human. In the movie, it works well because he’s remote and caustic—that’s why he’s so scary. But in the musical, I get to turn to the audience and say, ‘Aren’t these people assholes?’ and ‘Don’t you see why I feel the way I do?’ I literally get to check in with the viewer and justify how I behave.
How bloody is Broadway going to get with American Psycho?
I can guarantee that people don’t have to worry about being splattered with blood, but Patrick has a very bloody mind. [laughs]
Take us through a day in the life of this “American Psycho” if Patrick Bateman lived in NYC in 2016.
I feel like there are Batemans walking around today—that’s what’s sickly topical about the show, with Occupy Wall Street and the social and financial disparity between the classes. He goes to Whole Foods and Juice Press, lives in Tribeca, has a membership at Equinox. He wears the newest Nike trainers and Lululemon pants—he’s into hot yoga—and every night he eats at Nobu. Tickets from $69